US firm to buy Morrisons for $7bn

Morrisons has been sold to US private equity firm Clayton Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) for $7 billion after a fierce bidding war.

The supermarket chain, which is the UK’s fourth largest, was sold to CD&R for 287p a share after a consortium led by Fortress Investment Group, owned by Softbank, put in a bid of 286p a share.

If the CD&R bid is approved by shareholders, the group will take charge of Morrisons by November.

Both offers were just higher than the 285p a share offer proposed by Morrisons' board in August.

That recommendation came after Morrisons turned down a £5.5 billion offer from CD&R in July amid a takeover battle involving interest from several private equity groups.

Andrew Higginson, chairman of Morrisons, said: “Today’s final offer from CD&R represents excellent value for shareholders while at the same time protecting the fundamental character of Morrisons for all stakeholders.

“CD&R have good retail experience, a strong record of developing and growing businesses in which they invest, and they share our vision and ambition for Morrisons.

“We remain confident that CD&R will be a responsible, thoughtful and careful owner of an important British grocery business.”

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